MGM Grand rolls out kiosks in anticipation of sports betting by 'March Madness'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Live sports betting could begin in Michigan as early as next week, and almost certainly before the gambling frenzy that is "March Madness" this month.

In preparation, Detroit casinos are racing the clock to be ready, with MGM Grand Detroit ahead of the game with two rows of sports-betting kiosks recently installed just outside the Moneyline Sports Lounge near the casino's hotel entrance.

Sports-betting kiosks have been installed at MGM Grand Detroit.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board next meets Tuesday in Detroit, and a final authorization could come shortly thereafter.

"The goal is for onsite sports betting to begin before 'March Madness,' " said Mary Kay Bean, communications specialist for the Gaming Control Board.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed sports betting into law in December, making Michigan the 20th state to legalize sports betting following the landmark ruling March 18 that allowed sports betting to expand beyond Nevada.

Whitmer's approval opens live sports wagering, per the Gaming Control Board's final approval of regulations, such as auditing procedures.

The Gaming Control Board will regulate live sports betting at the three Detroit casinos, including MotorCity and Greektown.

The state's tribal casinos are not regulated by the state, and are rolling out their live sports betting plans on their own schedule. For instance, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has announced plans for live sports betting in time for football season at its own northern Michigan casinos. Firekeepers in Battle Creek said Wednesday that is hoping for a spring start, but not before "March Madness."

"March Madness," or the NCAA men's basketball tournament that will feature both Michigan State and Michigan, begins March 17. Along with the Super Bowl, the NCAA Tournament is among the most appealing events for diehard and casual gamblers, with 67 basketball games played over the course of three weeks. The opening week, with 48 games, has long been among Las Vegas' busiest weekends.

Sports wagers in Michigan will be allowed to be placed onsite, either at kiosks or betting windows, planned for all of Detroit's casinos. Online sports betting isn't likely to begin in Michigan until 2021.

MGM Grand Detroit opened its Moneyline Sports Lounge last fall, complete with plush leather recliners, 60 televisions and a full bar — to serve as a placeholder, of sorts, for when the casino could finally begin accepting sports bets.

Until this month, Detroit sports fans itching to lay the points needed to cross the river to place their live sports bets, at Caesars Windsor.

Elizabeth LeBlanc contributed to this report.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984